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Collisions between cars and deer on the rise

Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 22:41:43-04

You may have noticed more deer being hit along San Luis Obispo County roads recently and some are saying it’s happening more than ever before.

During October to December, it's deer rutting season, meaning deer are looking to mate. That means more deer are out during the day and night and are also in the chasing phase which could make for more deer crossing the roads, increasing the chances of a collision.

Deer and cars don't make for a good match and local auto repair shops are seeing the increase in collisions firsthand.

"This year is definitely higher than we've seen in any other year. I'm comfortable saying that this is the highest it's been and we've ever seen," said Tom Lloyd, office coordinator at B&B Collision.

"This time of year we might have as many as five or six in a month," said Mark Jansen, estimator at Vintage Auto Body.

The San Luis Obispo-area California Highway Patrol is also seeing the numbers of car and deer collisions on the rise.

"Another time of the year where you might get one every other week or so. Now we're seeing three, four of these type of calls daily," said Mike Poelking, CHP San Luis Obispo.

A collision can not only be dangerous but expensive.

"That can easily range from a couple of thousand to $10,000," Jansen said.

Poelking says it's important for drivers to stay aware on the roads.

The deer crossing signs are there to alert drivers of areas with there's a high likelihood of deer and it's helpful to drive slower in those parts.

"If you see one deer, there's a good chance there's going to be another, so really be hyper vigilant if you happen to see one deer alongside of the road or in the shoulder," Poelking said.

With rutting season in full effect and car and deer crashes on the rise, most deer get left on the side of the road.

However, a new California bill was recently signed that gives drivers the chance to pick up their roadkill and even take it home for dinner.

Poelking says if you are driving, it's extremely important to not swerve if a deer does run out in front of you.

He says it's almost better to hit the deer than losing control of your car and crashing or rolling your vehicle.

CHP says if you do hit a deer, it's best to move your vehicle to the side of the road and call 911.